Ergative case

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The ergative is the case of the A-argument in transitive clauses if the sole argument in intransitive clauses is assigned the same case as the P-Argument in transitive clauses.

Synonyms

Before the use of ergative in the mid 20th century, other terms were used:

Origin

The term ergative first became widespread in the description of Caucasian languages, following Dirr (1928) (see Seely 1977). Dirr picked the term up from Trombetti (1903:173), and Trombetti in turn took it from Schmidt (1902). Schmidt seems to have taken it from Ray & Haddon (1893) (see Manaster-Ramer 1994 for discussion).

References

  • Dirr. Adolf. 1928. Einführung in die kaukasischen Sprachen.
  • Humboldt, Wilhelm von. 1817. Berichtigungen und Zusätze zum ersten Abschnitte des zweyten Bandes des Mithridates über die cantabrische oder baskische Sprache. Berlin: Voss.
  • Manaster-Ramer, Alexis. 1994. "The origin of the term “ergative”." Sprachtypologie und Universalienforschung 47.3: 211-214.
  • Pilhofer, Georg. 1933. Grammatik der Kâte-Sprache in Neuguinea. Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für Eingeborenensprachen 14 (Editor: Meinhof, Carl)
  • Ray, Sidney H. & Haddon, Alfred C. 1893. A study of the languages of Torrres Straits with vocabularies and grammatical notes. Part II. Royal Irish Academy – Proceedings ser. 3, v. 4, 119-373.
  • Schmidt, P.W. 1902. Doe sprachlichen Verhältnisse von Deutsch-Neuguinea. In: Zeitschrift für afrikanische, ozeanische und oastasiatische Sprachen 6:1-99.
  • Seely, Jonathan. 1977. An ergative historiography. Historiographia Linguistica 4:191-206.
  • Trombetti, Alfredo. 1903. Delle relazioni delle lingue caucasiche. Part II. In: Giornale della Società asiatica italiana 16:145-175.
  • Vollmann, Ralf. n.d. Wilhelm von Humboldts Kasuskonzeption in seinen Arbeiten zum Baskischen.

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